Hannara Korean BBQ – All you can eat

Stop the press! Run, don’t walk. Hannara Korean BBQ cuisine is now doing ‘all you can eat’ Korean BBQ.

I had dragged my friend to Hannara at the beginning of the year when they had just opened but nothing really stood out from other Korean restaurants. We tried a variety of dishes including japchae, fried chicken and bulgogi but what made me have food regrets was smelling other people’s Korean BBQ sizzling away. So when I read that Hannara was now doing an ‘all you can eat’, it was the perfect excuse to go back.

There are three buffets to choose from: ‘Premium Wagyu and seafood buffet($69.00pp), the ‘Wagyu BBQ buffet($59.00pp) and the ‘standard BBQ buffet($49.00pp). The whole table ordered the Wagyu BBQ buffet which included Wagyu meat, some deep fried seafood and bibimbap as well as everything from the standard BBQ buffet.

There are some terms and conditions attached: The menu you request can be sold out. Age under 10 is $20 pp. There is a penalty fee for leftovers. ALL food’s quality is the same as the single menu. Take out not available. Limited to 90 minutes from the first serving.

Ordering the Wagyu BBQ buffet meant that we could have delicious Wagyu meat as well as all the Korean fried chicken, japchae and corn cheese that we wanted!And so it began, our ‘all you can eat’ adventure included some very delicious Wagyu meat, crunchy fried chicken, some judgment from the neighbouring tables and ended in a lot of belts being undone.It might not look very pretty, but the meat was delicious.Korean BBQ is the perfect winter warmer and a fun delicious way to catch up with friends. I’m a huge beef fan so the Wagyu beef was my favourite, the Korean fried chicken was nice because the sauce came on the side and came with the perfect pickled vegetables. I thought the bibimbap was a little sad looking and disappointing but I would definitely come back again! I had lots of fun and didn’t leave smelling like charcoal (their extraction fans work quite well).

The service was prompt as there is a bell on each table, the meat didn’t take long to cook and 90 minutes is ample time to order, cook, stuff your face and repeat as many times as needed.

Venue: Hannara Korean BBQ cuisine

Address Shop 1,2&3 – 16 Moore street, Canberra ACT 2601

Phone(02) 6193 3016

Multicultural festival 2017

I have found that there is usually a dominant stall during the Multicultural festival (17-19th Feb), previous years it has been Thai satay skewers, gozleme, Himalayan momos and Peruvian food. This year when I strolled around for 5 hours during the festival’s first night, I found that if you put a skewer on it… They will come.

Unfortunately I didn’t find too many stalls selling meat on a stick (although there are Peruvians selling beef heart on a stick down near Myer), but there are multiple stores of chips on a stick with varying names, corn on a stick, waffles on a stick, chorizo and halloumi on a stick and doughnuts on a stick.

If skewered items aren’t your thing, I have a little summary of other items that might take your interest.


The most refreshing non-alcoholic beverage: Otai, although there are slight variations between stalls. Most of the Polynesian island stalls are in front of the Canberra theatre.

Old favourite: Dutch Poffertjes ($10.00) stall is in front of Nespresso this year. There are other Dutch pancakes around but this one is the best. Our topping suggestion would be maple syrup and ice cream.I’ll be hunting down: Taiwanese gua bao. I hope they have them today!

New and exciting: Colombian – I don’t know if they were around previous years but last night we ate multiple chicken chorizo arepas ($10.00). We didn’t love the bread it was served on as we found it a bit hard but we loved the sausage and salsa!Best value: Iranian stall (right near the fountain), they have delicious chicken pieces, tender beef with rice and bottled water for $10 bucks.The Iranians cook huge skewers.Festival essentials: The Hungarians (Saturday only), they do a fantastic sausage and an amazing bread called lángos. If you find them, let me know.

My photo of delicious langos from previous years.20140208-135500.jpgInteresting suggestion: One of my favourite food bloggers The Food Avenue suggested that I try the Ecuadorian octopus ceviche (near the carousel), I might check that out today.

 

More stalls come out on Saturday, so I’m excited to hit up the festival again today. Will I see you there?

What goes up, must close down

Not in all cases, but it was inevitable that Canberra’s crazy eatery boom would slow down and now I’ve noticed a big surge of places either closing, changing names or changing owners. Here are some examples:

Old >> Schnitzel Haus (Braddon)

New>> Tipsy Bull (coming soon)

The original restaurant in Erindale is still open but the Braddon venue will now be transformed into a new restaurant.


Old >> Vitis Eatery (Braddon)

New >> Lazy Su (coming soon)

Unfortunately, it won’t be the delicious Vietnamese food that we have come to love from Miss Van’s but it will be interesting to see how their new venture goes offering Japanese and Korean flavours.


Old >> Turkish Pide house (Civic)

New >> Hannara Korean BBQ

My post about my recent visit to Hannara will be on the blog soon.


Old >> Shanghai Dumpling King (Erindale)

New >> Mr. Asian Chef

No more dumplings, just your typical westernised Chinese menu.


Old >> Breeze Sports Bar & Restaurant (Civic)

New >> The Alley Bar and Grill

Located in the Pacific Suites on Northbourne Avenue. I don’t know much about this place except that it popped up as one of my new Entertainment book deals.


Old >> Petra Palace (Phillip)

New >> Yummy Yalla

I don’t know if these are new owners or a rename, it went from a Lebanese restaurant to… Another Lebanese restaurant.


Moved >> Lahori gate restaurant

They moved from a small restaurant underneath apartments in Phillip to a much more spacious fit out in Weetangera apparently sometime around mid-2016. I’m yet to go but I found this awesome review from Travel and Beyond.


Changing owners 

Old >> Adore Tea (Gold Creek) you can still catch Adore tea products from their warehouse in Mitchell.

New >> The Tea House Gold Creek

I’m excited to see what direction the new owner takes on this tea house, I am trying their food out this weekend!


Old >> Mood Food  >> The Black Sheep (Braddon)

New >> Kith and Nosh (coming soon)

I didn’t even get around to trying The Black Sheep before they closed up. Hopefully, the new establishment stays around a little longer.


Closed >> Autolyse

Closed >> The Yarralumla bakery

Closed >> The Lobby / Pork Barrel


Changing owners >> Pulp kitchen- finishing up on Valentine’s day, it will be bittersweet to see the old owners go but exciting to see what the new owners can do with the place.


Changing names >> Paleo cafe to Tallow and Thyme (Braddon)


Changing names >> CIBO kitchen to Deli and Kafe (Woden)

Same family, just expanding their wares to cover European supermarket goods and deli meats/cheeses


Expanding >> Milk Crate cafe is not just a for the exclusive neighbouring buildings anymore, they have a much roomier space in their second set up down on Marcus Clarke street. They have a different chef and staff and I hear it isn’t as good as the original place.

 

The Commons Street Feast- what you need to know

The Commons Street Feast is finally here in Canberra and there are a few things you need to know

Information and photo are taken from their website.

  • The Commons Street Feast is located in Commonwealth Park from 9th-18th December
  • It is a free event and is open to all ages, with licensed 18+ bar areas on site
  • Seating – they have a range of seating options, including a ton of picnic tables for you to use. There is also seating available in the pop up bars and restaurants, plus an open grass area for those who wish to bring along a picnic blanket. You can also hire a selection of deck chairs to use as well
  • The Commons Street Feast is a completely cashless event. You will need to bring along cards (eftpos or credit) to pay for your food and drinks
  • Butlers ($50/hr) are sold out Friday (9th) and Saturday (10th) already, so book ahead to avoid disappointment
  • Opening hours

    • Friday 9 December 4pm – 11pm
    • Saturday 10 December 12pm – 11pm
    • Sunday 11 December 12pm – 9pm
    • Monday 12 December 5pm – 9pm
    • Tuesday 13 December 5pm – 9pm
    • Wednesday 14 December 5pm – 9pm
    • Thursday 15 December 5pm – 10pm
    • Friday 16 December 4pm – 11pm
    • Saturday 17 December 12pm – 11pm
    • Sunday 18 December 12pm – 9pm

You’ll know what my Instagram feed will be filled with for the next week and a bit. I hope to dabble in Mary’s, Messina’s international soup kitchen range, Bao stop, Ribbies, Bites on Wheels, Kranksy Brothers, Fritto & Co and Meet. I think it will require a few trips to get through my list.

Courgette

There is nothing more I can say about Courgette since I’ve blogged about it so many times; TimmyC and I always enjoy our visits here, even after all the restaurants that come and go in the Canberra dining scene.

Here is a collage of our last visit; even though it was in the middle of the week, it was a very busy night. We particularly enjoyed the Moreton bay bugs and surprisingly the venison.

Four course dinner ($88.00pp)~

– First course – 

In house smoked salmon, seared scallop, fennel sand, cauliflower puree, fermented black garlic

Sweetcorn croquette, heirloom tomato, bail pesto, green olive, toasted seeds

– Second course – 

Sauteed Moreton bay bugs, tomato, asparagus, cauliflower foam, chorizo crumb, petit herbs

Golden plains pork fillet and crispy jowl, miso mustard, celery fig salad, air dried black pudding

– Third course – 

Mandagery creek venison loin, truffled mash, baby spinach, red cabbage gel, port and thyme jus

Blue eyed cod and prawn sandwich, colcannon, bearnaise, salted baby capers, cornichons

– Four course – 

Baked hazelnut tart, coffee marscapone mousse, raspberry gel, dulce de leche, praline dust

Dropped cinnamon apple pie, vanilla bean custard, burnt apple ice cream, toasted oat crunch

Courgette also offer a 3 course lunch for $66.00pp, you should get there and see for yourselves why they keep winning awards.

Keep Calm and Curry On

Get your diary and cross out whatever you thought you were doing this weekend and write ‘CURRY FESTIVAL’ all in caps.
 
The World Curry Festival will kick off this Friday 8th from 5:00PM with free entry. There will be curries (obviously) from around the world, curried beer and spiced cider, entertainment and of course you will have to check out what unusual ice cream flavours Frugii has concocted for this event.
Inline image 1
 
VenueWorld Curry Festival
Address: City Walk, Civic
Dates and times
8th July 5:00PM – 8:00PM
9th July 11:00AM – 8:00PM
10th July 11:00AM – 6:00PM
 
In the case of bad weather the event may be postponed, please click attending on the Facebook event for all the latest event updates.

Pepper Lunch launch

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Food Blogger Pepper Lunch launch thanks to a lovely friend Fran (go check out her awesome blog here) and the generous owners of Pepper Lunch Canberra. They offered each blogger and their guest a main, a side, a drink and a dessert, although our meals were complimentary all opinions are our own.Pepper Lunch is bringing Japanese DIY Teppan to Canberra! Meals come out on a 260C hot plate and you cook the meat to your liking. Here is their ‘how to guide’:When we received our meal, the polite staff apologised for the wait when in fact we barely waited at all. I hope it is always this fast!

Classic beef pepper rice (a la carte $9.90). I couldn’t go to Pepper Lunch and not try their signature dish. The beef cooked really fast and was tasty but I felt the rice needed more sauce. Luckily there are two sauces on the table which included a sweet sauce and a garlic sauce (shake before use) that I added to my liking.Edit  Curry chicken pepper rice (a la carte $11.20). I really loved the curry sauce and I’ve decided that the next time I go, I’m getting something with that sauce!Shimofuri ‘porterhouse’ pepper steak (a la carte $16.90). The Food Marshall said that it was seasoned to perfection but it had a bit of gristle through it. She found TimmyC’s dish had better marbling.Giant rib eye steak (a la carte $24.90). This steak was noticeably bigger than the porterhouse but it was in the ‘giant’ section of the menu. I found this steak really delicious and ‘melt in your mouth’. It is on the more expensive end when compared with other menu items especially if you make it into a meal. You can make any a la carte menu item into a meal which includes one regular drink and one regular side for $4.90.

Regular sides: rice/chips/miso soup/shake shake salad.

Premium sides: onion rings/sweet potato wedges.All the sundaes have the same ice cream base but they are covered in different toppings. There are four flavours: chocolate nut crush, caramel swirl, green tea delight and black seasame; they  currently don’t have the black sesame flavour yet but they ensure me it is coming. I really enjoyed the caramel swirl and I really wanted to love the green tea delight but the flavour was so subtle, it was almost non existent. I hoping they adjust it and it will be better in the future.It was getting toasty warm inside the restaurant between all the people and 260C plates, so I imagine the restaurant will be a popular place to be this winter.

They have a loyalty card, the more you eat the better the reward!They are really trying to ensure that things run smoothly with the restaurant having a soft opening for the next few days to train staff and slowly ease their way in before trading normal hours (see below).

Venue:Pepper Lunch (Canberra)

Address: Shop 3 (next to Oliver Brown) 88-96, Bunda Street, Opposite Canberra Centre, Civic,  ACT

Phone: (02) 6152 0565

Opening hours: The next few days Pepper Lunch will have a soft opening, so hours will vary but they will roughly be lunch 12pm – 3pm dinner 6pm – 9pm

Sunday – Thursday 11:30am – 9:30pm

Friday – Saturday 11:30am – 10:30pm

Wood and Coal – express lunch menu

After being met with disappointment with an unopened Pepper Lunch (they were supposed to be opened on the 15th April), my brain quickly scanned for a plan B. Hmmm what did I want to eat in Civic? ‘I had not had a baco before’ I thought to myself, so off we went to Wood and Coal.

I was surprised to see that during Sunday lunch the North Quarter of Canberra Centre area seemed a bit of a ghost town and I was even more surprised to see that we were the only patrons in Wood and Coal during our meal. I was hoping that meant we would get our meal faster because I was getting hungry fast!

 

Yoghurt flat bread BACO~ The B-A-C-O sandwich originated from a restaurant called Baco Mercat in Los Angeles. The Baco is a combination of bao + taco, essentially making it like a soft bread taco.

Slow cooked pork shoulder BACO sriracha mayo, parmesan cheese, quoinoa salad, chicharon ($13.00). I really liked everything in the filling but the bottom of my baco became soggy fast and it quickly turned into a knife and fork meal. I think this would have been nicer served in a bowl with the bread served on the side, albeit it wouldn’t be a baco but it sure would be easier to eat. Definitely not a first date food.Crispy fish BACO caper mayo, coleslaw, fried egg, scallion ($13.00). It wasn’t until I wrote this blog post did we realise that there was no fried egg in the baco. There was too much coleslaw which was over powering to the other ingredients and made the bottom of the baco very soggy.Golden brown spit chicken thigh BACO smoky aioli, parmesan cheese, green slaw ($12.00). I got food envy smelling my friend’s baco, the chicken looked really succulent. My friend really enjoyed his baco and finished it all (with a knife and fork of course).Spit roasted honey chicken wings house-made pickles, yoghurt flat bread ($16.00). We probably didn’t need more bread on the table but I really wanted to try their chicken wings. I am so glad that I ordered these because the chicken wings were meaty, juicy and I can’t believe their gave us 8 in a serve! The pickles were also really good and I would easily order this again.It was served with a whole jar of pickled vegetables! They pickles were tangy and gave a nice balance to all the meat and heavy bread.Sides~

Chips with garlic and feta ($9.00). It was suggested by our waiter that we order a serve of chips with garlic and feta rather than the plain chips you could get on the side with a baco ($2.00). I might have seemed like an up sell but it was well worth it! They were moreish and I think it went well with all the meat. They were served really hot and crispy.Dessert~

Snickers on a plate peanut butter parfait, burnt marshmallows, pecan praline, salted peanut caramel sauce, dark chocolate sauce, dark chocolate ice cream ($13.00). There were a lot of things going on on the plate but essentially it reminded me of a snickers crossed with a s’more because of all the marshmallows. I found the dessert a bit OTT and too sweet.Cookie Monster milk chocolate chip cookie, dark chocolate chip cookie, salted caramel, lemon vanilla and chocolate ice creams and dark chocolate sauce ($14.00). This was essentially a cookie stack and it was hard to eat all of them in one go because the cookies were hard. It was eventually dismantled and eaten separately. I can’t say that they do dessert well but I would definitely come back to Wood and Coal for their lunch specials. We found the service to be friendly and attentive but that might have been because we were the only people in the restaurant.

Sundays have a 10% surcharge.

Courgette 

It has been a while since I’ve last dined at Courgette but a spontaneous lunch was booked with wonderful company, it was an offer too good to refuse.

I’ve always loved their cutlery.Three course lunch ($66.00 per person).

Complimentary bread with smoked butter. This had a magical crunchy exterior with a soft bready interior served warm with amazing butter. This was just bread and butter so I was excited for what was still to come.Entree~ (yes all of us chose the same entree)

In house smoked salmon, seared scallop, fennel sand, cauliflower puree, fermented black garlic. The salmon wasn’t overly smoked or salty which kept the palette rather clean throughout this course. I haven’t had a good scallop for a while and there were two big juicy plump ones on my plate. I was so happy!Main~

Flaked ocean trout, king prawn, baby squid, pea puree, squid ink crumb, pernod beurre blanc.Sous vide Angus beef tenderloin, baby spinach, red cabbage gel, artichoke, thyme and port jus. It might appear too rare for some (inside was quite pink), but the beef was tender and I cut through it effortlessly. A great pairing of flavours on the plate and with a few spoonfuls of the Paris mash, this was the ultimate lunch.Maple glazed muscovy duck breast, couscous, kale, celeriac puree, tomato eggplant relish, prune gel.Sides~

Paris mash ($7.00). Not as buttery and rich as I remember it used to be but still ridiculously smooth and paired perfectly with the beef.

Asparagus, pine nuts, sunflower seeds ($7.00). Cooked perfectly and a great addition to any main meal.Dessert~

Dropped cinnamon apple pie, vanilla bean custard, burnt apple ice cream, toasted oat crumb. The presentation reminds me of Massimo’s dropped pie from Osteria Francescana. It is a classic dessert given a beautiful modern face lift and I loved every mouthful. The perfect winter warmer dessert.Cheese and bickies Guilloteau Buche d’Affinois triple cream Brie, Reypenaer VSOP aged Gouda, Wyngaard Chevre Affine. When my friend said to try some of cheese board, I didn’t envisage myself eating almost half of it, but I found all three cheese delicious and very moreish.This is one of the best meals that I’ve had in Canberra in a long time, one wonders why it took me so long to come back.

Guild

We were taking a big “Risk” (tee hee, I love that game) when we headed down to Guild on a Friday night without a booking, but we were lucky enough to squeeze on a table for two between the three of us, but the tables are big enough that we weren’t squished at all.

Handy wipes on each table to protect sticky fingers from the games and to have clean hands to eatHappy friends all concentrating on defeating each other, only in the game of course.Mocktails~

Peach, ginger and cinnamon virgin spritz roasted peaches infused with ginger and cinnamon, combined with lemonade and a hint of mint ($9.00). My friend really enjoyed this, she said it was sweet and very refreshing.

Strawberry virgin mojito fresh strawberries, mint and lime muddled and topped with soda, perfect on a hot day ($9.50). I didn’t really read the description so I was a little surprised when this wasn’t sweet, it would be nice if you wanted something cold, bubbly but not sweet.To share~

Pumpkin and feta fritters served with minted yoghurt dipping sauce ($14.00). These fritters had a dry interior and really needed the dipping sauce, there wasn’t enough and we had to ask for more.Pizza~ 9″ small meal or 11″ regular meal

I loved the names of pizza, they have nerdy witty humour. My friend can’t eat pork so there was very limited choices for her, maybe they could eventually bring in beef mince pizzas?

Connect 4 marinated feta, imported gorgonzola, buffalo mozzarella, provolone and cracked pepper on an oil base (11″ size $17.00). I didn’t get to try this pizza but my friends were sadden that there wasn’t even coverage over the entire pizza.Zombicide spicy chorizo, pepperoni, smoked ham, herbed lemon chicken breast, smoked bacon and homemade BBQ sauce (11″ size $18.00). A very delicious, meat-a-licious pizza, with a more even coverage of topping. I think if the base was a little fluffier or thinner, the slightly burnt edges wouldn’t be so hard.The pepperoni pieces are a little thicker than I’m used to but that meant they didn’t burn as much.There was a wait on food because it was so busy and the nature of wood-fired pizza but we didn’t notice as we were having so much fun playing Love Letter (Batman edition).

A fun and easy to learn game while waiting for dinner.After dinner, we switched over to playing Dixit by a recommendation from the Game Master (I have no idea what his name was so that’s what I’ll call him), which led us almost to closing time. When we went to pay the bill, I was surprised to see a gamage surcharge of $3.00 per person which we would have happily paid, but we didn’t see any signs nor were we told about it.

Lots of games to choose from all around the restaurant.There are still a few teething issues with timing and service but they have only just opened over a week ago. We really enjoyed our time here, there are many games and options and the friendly staff are only more than eager to help; if you have zero idea they will also run through the game with you. It is very refreshing to have a something in civic that is fun and doesn’t revolve around drinking, although there are plenty of options for that too if that’s what you’re into. My friends and I would be very keen to come back and try out more of the menu and play more of their games.

Venue: Guild

Address: (Where APK used to be) LG, Bailey’s Arcade, 150 London Cct, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601

Phone: (02) 62572727

Opening timesMon-Sun 11:00 – 00:00

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/guildhouse.canberra/

Temporada re-run

With so many new restaurants coming out and so many good existing ones, I rarely would go out of my way to go back to a place where I found it mediocre but I’m always up for second chances. I didn’t love Temporada like everyone else did when it first opened but it has been a few years so maybe things have changed. TimmyC was keen to go back because we had such fond memories of their beef rib sliders.

We were seated at the bar which meant lots of table space but the seats were uncomfortable and towards the end of the meal, TimmyC and I ended up standing up while finishing our meal. 

 

To start~
House-made sourdough and cultured butter ($2.50).Their bread was delicious but the butter was definitely the best part. Order this when you sit down, then it will be perfectly timed to arrive when you have just finished ordering the rest of the meal.
Wood grilled pippies, saffron and chorizo ($20.00). I found the sauce to be most addictive to eat and I resorted to dipping my bread in it to get every last drop. Unfortunately the sauce and really salty chorizo probably drowned out the natural taste of the pippies.
BBQ King prawn, bourride ($9.00 each). TimmyC’s prawn came out of its shell rather easy but I found mine was stuck to the shell which made it really difficult to eat. I got a lot of ‘burnt’ taste in my mouth from the charred legs as I resorted to pulling the prawn meat off with my teeth. The prawn meat itself was sort of sweet but I didn’t enjoy this dish.
Zucchini flower, spanner crab, lemon ($9.00 each). These don’t look like much but they came out piping hot without being oily and they were delicious. Definitely my top pick of the smalls plates that we tried.
Filled with crabby goodness.
Wood grilled dry aged 500g T-bone, smoked potato, pink peppercorn, leeks ($45.00). TimmyC always jokes that T-bones are a ‘private steak’ for me because I like to pick up the bone and get every last bit of meat, but this was served pre-cut which meant for easy eating and sharing. The steak itself wasn’t anything special and I was hoping for more butter and smooth texture from the potato.
The steak wasn’t amazing but it was cooked perfectly.
We still weren’t overly impressed with the food but more importantly our bums were super sore from the seats, so we decided to pay the bill and head somewhere else for dessert. My friend who was also there having dinner that night was coincidentally sitting at the bar next to us, eventually she got a sore bum too but her party of two really enjoyed their duck main and would happily come back again. I guess it depends on experiences and the food that you order, but I won’t be in a hurry to come back again, maybe if they get beef ribs sliders back on the menu.
We sat near the kitchen entrance so it was easy to flag down staff when we wanted a water refill etc, the food wait time was very minimal and it was fairly busy by the time we had left.
See my previous post about Temporada here.

Temporada Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mister Zee’s

Mister Zee’s has only been opened for three days but I have been waiting months for this restaurant to open. We went last night for dinner and even though there was four of us, I proceeded to order almost half the menu.Chocolate baklava shake ($8.00). I must say this was one of the first things that caught my eye when I read the menu; I thought it was an odd combination but I definitely wanted to try it. It was a delicious chocolate milkshake and at first you couldn’t really sense any baklava but towards the last third you start to notice the filo pastry that has been blended through. I don’t know how well a milk shake goes with the amount of food we ordered, maybe this would be better if you were looking for something sweet after one menu item as opposed to half of the menu like we had ordered.Charcoal chicken served with Lebanese bread, toum (garlic dip), pickles (half $13.00). When the plate we put in front of us we were really underwhelmed as the chicken looked cold and dry but I was surprised to find it slightly warm. I ate a bit of the breast which was on the drier side but even when I ate around the thighs it was also dry. There was a nice flavour through the meat but all the deliciousness was in the skin. The salty charcoal flavours were delicious and the way it was cooked left the skin nice and crispy. I really wished the Lebanese bread would have been slightly warmed, it would have made a fabulous difference. The pickles were really strong, eye widening type of pickles but the flavours became refreshing as we were eating it between other dishes.

We didn’t know what this was but found out very quickly that it was garlic dip. It went really well with the chicken.The pickles were almost as intense as their colour!Lebanese nachos choice of chicken, lamb or falafel served with fried Lebanese bread, tomato, onion, parsley, cheese, hummus, labneh ($15.00). We chose chicken for the meat and we really enjoyed this. The fried Lebanese bread wasn’t oily and sickly but rather addictive and super crunchy, I was surprised it didn’t get soggy towards the end and it kept its crispness. I would easily order this again.Lamb kofte with spicy tomato sauce served with rice pilaf ($18.00). This was really nice at first but as the dish got colder, the meat got tighter and tougher; I would definitely recommend eating this while it is hot. I didn’t find the tomato sauce spicy at all and while we really enjoyed this dish when we first tried it, I found myself preferring the other menu items after all our order arrived.Hummus ($6.00). We didn’t really read the additions to every dish but I wish the server at the register pointed out that many of our dishes already came with hummus and we really didn’t need to order any more additionally. I was hoping for more of a garlic hit but it was rather mild and smooth.Babaganoush ($7.00). I don’t know if they had given this to us complimentary because we ordered so much but it was a lovely gesture. Babaganoush isn’t my first preference of dip as I find some versions have too strong of a burnt eggplant taste but I surprisingly enjoyed this dip.Shish choice of chicken, lamb or adana (minced lamb meat) served with salad, Turkish flatbread, hummus (triple $26.50). We had all started dipping our Lebanese bread from the charcoal chicken plate in dips but as soon as the warm Turkish flatbread hit our table we all happily swapped breads almost instantly. To have more choice we naturally ordered one of each type of shish and I was really surprised to find that chicken was my favourite with its delicious flavours while remaining succulent. The lamb pieces was a close second but the adana, just like the lamb kofte was nice while it was hot but it as it got colder, it too got tougher. I would love to eat a kebab made up of the chicken pieces wrapped in flatbread which was smeared in hummus. Mmmmmm…

While we were happily stuffing our faces, someone who we presumed to be the manager asked us what we thought of the meal. After our compliments on certain dishes, he was really interested to find out what we  didn’t enjoy as much. We went through things such as the dry charcoal chicken, cold Lebanese bread and the texture of the adana to which he all seemed to be aware and said he was working on getting the perfect balance of a succulent moist chicken while getting that crispy salty skin, the problems of heating Lebanese bread and still working on getting the perfect cooking time of the adana. I was really impressed about how he had taken the feed back on board and that he really wanted to better his product. I then quizzed him about his dessert menu and in particular why there was no Lebanese doughnuts available, he proceeded to then tell me how they are made fresh every day but the batter is only good for so long but they hope to make a batter (which takes 2-3 hours) ready for opening time and by the time it reached late afternoon, they would make another batch for night time.Something sweet~

My friend and I were still eating dinner when the waitress came over and gave us complimentary dessert, I presumed it was because we had given feedback in addition to my enthusiasm for their desserts. I thought it was so nice of them.Baklava ice cream sandwich ($6.00). Before we even ordered, I was asking the girl at the front counter many questions which included: what is adana? Is everything on the menu available? Do you have baklava ice cream sandwiches? She then explained that the ice cream sandwich was a literally a piece of baklava cut in half with ice cream wedged in the middle. It isn’t as sweet and overwhelming as it sounds because the baklava isn’t that sweet and flavours and crispy texture went really well with the ice cream. I would eat this again, but it is definitely not a first date food as it gets messy very quickly.Knafeh ($6.00). We were told that this was made by a local couple and I was super excited to try this ever since I had it late last year when we had that pop up shop. It had a delicious subtle sweet flavours of rosewater and pistachios with a beautiful smooth texture. I would have loved this if it was served warm. *drool*I was surprised for a place that would do a lot of take- aways had such nice spacious seating, good heavy cutlery and crockery. It is nice to have something different to eat when there are so many cafe and Asian options in the area. I will definitely be back to try more and eat more of what I’ve already tried. Waiting times didn’t take long, the prices are reasonable and the staff were very friendly and efficient.

We spent just under $100 between the four of us ordering dinner and we were really full even before the desserts arrived but everyone knows that you have a separate stomach for dessert. I think you could easily be content with a single shish ($14.50) and leave enough room for something sweet.

Venue: Mister Zee’s

Address: 122 Bunda Street, Canberra, Civic, ACT

Phone: (02) 6152 0306

Opening hours:

11:00am – 9:00pm Sunday – Thursday

11:00am – 10/10:30pm Friday and Saturday
Mister Zee's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fun filled weekend – The Big Smoque AAA BBQ festival

The Big Smoque AAA BBQ festival seemed like one of the most controversial Canberra events of the year. Even if you didn’t go, you would have heard by now the overwhelming bad reviews that drowned out the people who enjoyed themselves.

I didn’t experience a lot of the negativity that these people were angry about as I went to the earlier session but I think a lot of the anger stemmed from a multitude of things ranging from: 1) high expectations of the event because it was ticketed (i.e. “what does $12 get me?”) 2) the wait times for ordering and pickup 3) the limited amount of stalls that were selling food 4) prices 5) running out of food 6) and I also heard some complaints about the food.FNL-BBQ-logoI wonder how many times a year they bring out this giant cowboy boot.There wasn’t much clarity with how this event was going to run, I didn’t know if they were going to kick me out right on 3pm but they informed me I couldn’t leave the premises after 3pm without buying another time session to come back in, fair enough. I knew that there were going to be 12 competitors vying for ‘Grand Champion’ of the AAA BBQ festival but I didn’t know if they were going to be able to sell food while competing. It turns out that all the competitors were busy perfecting their BBQ before being judged by a panel and as a ticket holder I could only buy food from what looked like commercial vendors. I was a little saddened when I realised there were only 8 food stalls, 3 drinks stands and 1 selling hot sauce, but I only needed one good food stand to satisfy me.

I was excited to see so many tents until I realised less than half of them were selling food to ticket holders *sad face*We were given a wristbands and a bib and we were ready to eat.I grabbed my friend and we headed somewhere for ‘snacks’ straight away before we looked at all the stalls properly. First stop: Smoque stall, it was surprisingly the only stall selling chicken wings. Buffalo wings with blue cheese aioli (3 pieces for $5.00) and pountine ($10.00), not very ‘American BBQ’ but we were happy to try something new. I’ve always liked Smoque’s chicken wings and my friend who has never had them before also enjoyed them. I’m not the biggest fan of blue cheese but the sauce was a nice balance. The poutine was new to us both and we thought it was odd that there was no cutlery available to eat this, it isn’t a first date food but I liked how their left the potato skins on. It was messy to eat but pretty tasty for those who enjoy their chips drowned in gravy. After whetting our appetite and being able to think more clearly without becoming hangry, we decided a platter was the next thing we would purchase. My friend chose the $30.00 share platter from the Smoking Gun BBQ and we were disappointed to see the tiny portions with the most expensive menu item on site. It had bad potato salad, a bland slaw with some brisket, a sausage and a tiny helping of pulled pork but at least it had a tasty sweet pickle. After eating so much meat the crunchy slaw became a welcome palette cleanser and despite the small size the brisket and pulled pork was very moist and tasty. I still don’t understand what made this small portioned box so expensive.The heat was getting unbearable even though we had found a lovely spot under and umbrella so the next stop had to be a refreshing juice from Krave. Small juices were $5, my friend chose strawberry lemonade and I had pineapple lemonade, it was exactly what I needed and I couldn’t scull mine quick enough.We decided to eat one last thing before we headed to another food festival and I chose the Argentinian porky bites from Parrilla Argenchino, signs didn’t indicate how much they were but they ended up being $14.50 for a small portion. There was a line when we were first looking around but this time there was no one and we were served our food pretty much straight away. I liked how there were bones, fat and BBQed crispy edges, we had chosen a chimichurri sauce but it didn’t need anything because it was delicious on its own while it was hot. Definitely the favourite of the event for us.

No lines meant ordering straight away and being served straight away. You can judge from this photo how much pork was in one serve.I think the one thing I was disappointed with above all else was the lack of BBQed ribs, Rangers Texas BBQ might have had them but before 3pm they had sold out of everything with only pulled pork available after 6pm. Do not give me a rib bib if there are no ribs to eat people!

An overview of all the food vendors at the event, they had a mix of Argentinian, Vietnamese, Greek and Indian as well as those who specialise in American BBQ.There are many things they could learn from their inaugural event although I understand that it was their first year so I wasn’t too unhappy with the event overall but if I had come later with long wait times and more vendors running out of food, I would probably be singing a different tune. It did get expensive fast when between the both of us eating, drinking and buying some sauces we spent around $100.00!